Good apple pies are a considerable part of domestic happiness”
– Jane Austen
I couldn’t agree more with you Ms Austen! In this house, we absolutely love apple pie. Actually we love any dessert that has apple: apple pie, apple tart, tarte tatin, apple crumble, apple turnover, apple compote, apple cake, apple muffins and apple granola!
But, the absolute favourite has to be tarte fine aux pommes, a classic of french cuisine. Tarte fine aux pommes, which is just a fancy french way to say thin apple tart with only apples! And that’s what makes this dessert so delicious. Not only is it easy to make but it’s full of flavours and every bite is loaded with moist, compote-like pieces of apple that just melt in your mouth!
Hungry or not, once you start digging into it, you may have a really hard time stopping. Trust me, it rarely makes it to breakfast! On its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream it makes the perfect light dessert.
All you have is a nice crispy, crunchy, flaky pastry topped with beautiful, thin slices of apples, artfully arranged and coated with brown sugar and a bit of butter. The smell in the kitchen is magic. I love making it just for that!
Now, there are many recipes out there for this classic. Some people like to add an apricot glaze, others like to add a bed of apple compote unde the slices which gives the tart a double layer of yumminess. I’ll sometimes do the later but usually I’ll just go for a very simple version of pastry and apples.
I have yet to make my own puff pastry, I usually have a few ready-made rolls in my freezer. As for the apples, I’ve experimented over time but I prefer using Royal Gala or Golden apples. They are easily available across the globe and I find that although they keep their shape they melt easily too. I would not recommend the crispier variety such as Granny Smith, I find they don’t melt well and have a pretty tart flavour which usually means adding more sugar.
Now, for the equipment. It’s very important to use a shallow baking tin. Either you can use a 20-25cm baking tin with removable bottom or I use pizza pans which have no sides. They are perfect for this tart.
For a truly classic experience you can just roll your pastry on buttered parchment paper on a baking tray.
Tarte Fine aux Pommes
- Ready rolled puff pastry to line a 25 cm pie tin with removable bottom
- 6-7 medium size apples, Royal Gala or Golden
- 2 Tbsp of dark muscovado sugar
- 3 Tbsp of soft butter
- Preheat oven at 180ºC, gas mark 4.
- Line the pastry tin with parchment paper. Using 1 Tbsp of butter, brush the bottom of the parchment paper and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of sugar.
- Roll the pastry on the buttered parchment paper. Prick bottom of pastry with the tines of a fork. Keep in fridge while you prepare the apples.
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into thin slices. It’s important that the slices are relatively thin. I do it by hand but you could use a mandolin or a vegetable peeler. You don’t want them too thin that they burn but not thick enough that they don’t cook through!
- Arrange the apples slices tightly on the pastry. Make sure not to leave any empty spaces.
- Sprinkle the rest of the sugar and flake the leftover butter over the apples.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. If by that time, the pie looks cooked but not golden, put it a couple of minutes under the broiler to get a beautiful golden colour. I normally don’t do that.